The Deddington Arms Hotel and Resturant Review

Hey guys!

So this evening I visited a resturant that I haven’t been to before, and I just had to write a quick review of it!

The Deddington Arms Hotel and Restaurant is in Deddington, Oxfordshire (a few miles south of Banbury) and as you can tell by it’s title, is a hotel and a resturant. I can’t give you any information on the hotel side of things as I’ve never stayed there (I live like ten minutes away) but as for the restaurant I can say that it is absolutely amazing.

Credit: Google Images/ Tripadvisor ‘photo provided by Deddington Arms Management’

The staff were very friendly, welcome and attentitive which was clear as soon as we walked in. The dining area is beautifully laid out and very light and fresh.

For a starter we shared some artisan breads with oil, balsamic and hummus which was absolutely gorgeous.

For mains, we had catch of the day (pollock) with chips and duck breast with fondant potato, roasted onion in a cherry jus. The fish and chips was beautiful, very flavoursome and battered with ‘Hooky’ beer. If you’re familiar with this part of Oxfordshire you’ll know that Hooky is the name of the signature beer of the local Hook Norton Brewery. The chips were delicious, super fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside; absolutely beautiful. As for the duck, my OH said it was some of the best duck he’d had and that the cherry really works. The presentation of both dishes was brilliant.

For dessert, we had the Baked White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Sorbet and the Honey and Lavender Mouse with candied orange and orange sorbet. The puddings were exquisite, the lavender really does work especially with the sharpness of the orange and white chocolate and raspberry is my favourite flavour combination so we were generally over the moon at these desserts.

As the food was extremely delicious and very well presented you would think that the prices would be extortionate but they were really quite affordable.

I would give this resturant a 10/10 because I could not pick fault at all and I am very happy. If you’re ever in this area I’d definitely recommend visiting, you will not regret it!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle x

Advertisements

Revolution Re-Loaded Velvet Rose Palette Review

Hi everyone!

Today I popped into Superdrug and picked up the Revolution Re-loaded Velvet Rose Palette. I’ve been meaning to get this for a little while and I was not at all disappointed! As usual, Revolution have provided top quality make up for a super affordable price.

The palette consists of 15 shades all together; 5 shimmer and 10 matte shades. These shades consist of a range of mauve, brown and golden shades, which are perfect for Autumn.

Swatches: Bottom Row R-L, Middle Row R-L, Top Row R-L

As you can see, they are really pigmented and gorgeous! They aren’t chalky and you do not have to build them up to get the pigment which is excellent. I especially love the pinkish shimmer shade in the middle. I generally cannot believe that this palette is only £4, and I’m really keen to try the other Re-Loaded palettes! This palette is going to perfect for some really lovely Autumnal looks. I think you could also use this with your Halloween make up look too!

Have you tried this palette? What other palettes would you recommend for an Autumnal vibe? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle x

Starting University? Here are my thoughts and tips!

Hi everyone,

So it’s been four years since I started my history degree at Oxford Brookes University, and just over a year since I graduated with my 2:1 with honours. Looking back, there are so many things I enjoyed, so many things I wish I’d done, and so many tips I wish I had been given. If you’re about to start your course, I wish you the very best of luck, and I hope you have the most wonderful few years of your life!

Graduation Day, June 2017. A proud moment!

Five aspects I enjoyed:

1) Meeting some wonderful new friends. Megan, Rachel, Lucy and Lily really made my university experience, and I’m so thankful for these amazing girls💖

2) Learning about parts of history I’d never have learnt about if it were not for my professors. Fascinating facts and interesting viewpoints made the subject so enjoyable. The professors and lecturers have a fountain of knowledge and it’s just wonderful.

3) The feeling of getting a piece of coursework back with a good mark. After disastrous A-Levels and barely scraping through to even get to university in the first place, I was overwhelmed when my first ever piece of coursework came back marked as a First.

4) The fact that I can proudly say that I have a degree! It’s a huge accomplishment and such a wonderful reward after all the hard work in my education.

5) Just being a student! The perks of being a student are awesome. Need a new dress? Student discount girllll. Want to burst out crying? You’re studying for a degree it’s fine, it’s understandable! Not ready to adult? Don’t worry, you’re a student, you have your whole life ahead of you, enjoy being young. I wish I was a student again!

I look awful and exhausted, but here is me just about to finally hand in my dissertation! All that hard work, done!

Five aspects I wish I had done better:

1) I wish I’d been more sociable and gone out more. I’m not a clubbing person or heavy drinker, and I’m quite a socially awkward person, but I do wish I’d pushed myself to really enjoy or just try the so-called “student lifestyle” before I became an adult with a full-time job and a mortgage. I let my anxiety stop me doing a lot, and I wonder if pushing myself to socialise more would have helped me.

2) Not procrastinated. Every student is guilty of this I’m sure, but I wish I’d tried to get work completed earlier, studied harder and not left everything to the last minute and caused myself unnessary stress. Those all-nighters could have been avoided if I’d have just got on with it!

3) Spoken to my professors, lecturers and staff leads more. I felt awkward asking for help when I needed it, which is the worst thing I could have done. I should have communicated when I was struggling.

4) Taken the opportunity to use Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. In my third year I could have filled in my form and had unlimited access to the Bodleian Library, an opportunity that I let slip. Always take every single chance that you are given!

5) Worked less. I worked hard throughout university, often working at least 30 hours a week alongside my full-time degree. Needs must to have been able to afford to live, and to have been able to save, as I didn’t have any other financial support. I managed to get a mortgage with my fiancé within months of coming out of university which was amazing and meant we got the perfect house at the best time, but I do think it meant that my studying slipped a bit, especially with my dissertation.

An ordinary day in the life of me, studying for and writing up a paper in the library

My Five Top Tips:

1) Study! Sound obvious, but make it your top priority. You probably won’t get the opportunity again. Be organised, don’t leave everything to the last minute, and always try your best. The rewards outweigh everything.

2) Read! Read all of your course materials and then some. I didn’t, and I feel that with some areas I struggled because I didn’t always have a profound understanding of the topics. Anything to help!

3) Make the most of your student discount. I barely used mine because I always forgot about it, and I miss it now. I could have saved a fortune!

4) Don’t be afraid to ask questions! At the risk of repeating what I have written above, talk to your professors and lecturers and staff leaders! They are there to help you and better you, and they will always assist you in any way possible.

5) Embrace it. Make the most of your time and university, studying a subject you love, spending time with your amazing friends, laughing and loving life. Your degree, and those 3+ years, will go by in a heartbeat. Make the most of it! Whenever you think that you can’t do it, that you’re going to fail or that you’re wasting your time, please remember that you are doing great and it will all be worth it in the end!

Are you starting university? If so, what uni are you going to and what are you studying? Or have you been/are you still attending uni and are there any tips you would give to freshers? Let me know in the comments below!😘

Thanks for reading!

Michelle x

Follow me on social media:

Instagram

Twitter

I’m Volunteering with Brownies!

Hi everyone!

So just a short post today, buy I wanted to share something new and exciting that I’ve got involved with – volunteering with the Brownies section of Girl Guiding! Girl Guides are split into sections by age- Rainbows are ages 5-7, Brownies 7-10, Guides 10-14 And in some districts, Rangers, which are ages 14-18.

I’m training to be a Brownies Unit Leader, and was influenced by my lovely colleague who is a Guides County Commissioner. I hope to make a difference and give the girls and exciting and memorable experience with Brownies.

I had my first meeting last night, but only two girls turned up, so we think we’re going to combine with another unit of Brownies in a neighbouring village to ensure we have a sustainable group. I’ve been so worried that the girls wouldn’t like me, and I’m still worried in case they didn’t as they didn’t talk to me very much, but I’m telling myself that kids will not trust easily and they have to get to know you first, so fingers crossed they will. They were both very polite and well-behaved so that was lovely. We did have a lovely evening, which involved baking Apple Spice Muffins which were delicious! (And so perfectly Autumnal). Having never been involved in Brownies or Guides or anything growing up, I’m not very clued up on what goes on but I’m very keen to learn, and I’m finding it really interesting.

Has anyone else volunteered in the Girl Guides, Brownies or Rainbows, or something similar? Or work with children in general? Let me know in the comments, any advice would be very much appreciated!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle xx

Greatest Showman at Luna Cinemas Blenheim Palace

Hi guys!

So last night I finally got to see the Great Showman, and I have well and truly fallen in love with it! I love musicals and this was phenomenal. Hugh Jackman is such a fabulous actor, and I love Zac Efron, Zendaya and Michelle Williams. All of the cast were brilliant. My favourite songs from the film are Rewrite The Stars, A Million Dreams and This Is Me. 10/10 would watch forty million times.

I saw this at the wonderful Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. I live 10-15 minutes away and I feel so blessed to live so close to this beautiful palace and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The Luna Cinema comes to Blenheim every year (it tours the country, so I’d definitely check if it’s coming to somewhere near you), and it’s a fab experience. I go with my best friend, her mum and her boyfriend and we always have such a laugh!

This year it was raining, so we did get a bit wet and cold, but luckily it did stop raining before the film actually started. We took a huge flask of hot chocolate which was extremely beneficial, and had blankets so that we could wrap up warm. We also took lots of snacks because if you don’t did you even go and see a film?

Had a fabulous evening, I’ve played the Greatest Showman soundtrack on repeat and I wanted to share it on my blog!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle xx

Planning to become completely cruelty free!

In many ways, we are all a bit guilty of overlooking certain situations, and animal testing tends to be one of them. I’ve always been the sort of person who loves trying out different brands, but recently I’ve learn more about the fact that many of these brands sell in China, where animal testing is a legal requirement. I had no idea that so many of my favourite brands sell in China which essentially means that they are endorsing animal testing. I did some research and some of the things I saw and discovered broke my heart, so I’m desperate to transition to using only cruelty-free products. I do tend to stick with cruelty free items but have always tended to still buy some of my favourites, however I want that to change. I’ve seen many people post about this topic recently and so it’s really made me want to write about it. I generally don’t understand why it’s 2018 and some countries and brands find it acceptable to test on animals.

As other people have said in their own posts, I don’t want to waste any products I already have, so if I do end up posting about an item that is not necessarily cruelty free, it’s simply because I had already brought these products prior to researching animal testing. This includes many Garnier and Avon products. I’m really gutted that these two brands are not cruelty free, especially the latter as Avon were one of the first brands to go cruelty free back in 1989 until they started selling in China around 2012. I think this is awful that Avon would put profits before their own ethics, and I’m quite upset because the lady that sells Avon in my village is absolutely lovely, it’s such a shame. Avon, sort it out please!

I do find it difficult to find who is cruelty free as not everyone has the infamous leaping bunny logo on their products, but I’ve been using trustworthy websites such as Cruelty Free International, Friendly and Free, and of course PETA to help me out. One aspect that concerned me about trying to go fully cruelty free was if there were really much of a choice of decent brands, but thanks to these three websites, social media and advertising I’ve found that there are so many choices and brands, and a few are my favourites! I would definitely that my top favourite brands are Revolution, Barry M and Bodyshop, the latter of which was considered to be on tricky territory for a while as it was owned by L’Oreal, but since they were brought out by the cruelty free company Natura, faith in the ethics of the company is being restored, especially now they have released their project to completely ban cosmetic animal testing worldwide. You can learn more about Bodyshop’s campaign, Forever Against Animal Testing, amd possibly sign the petition if you wish, right here. I’ve signed as I think it’s so important. I was always under the impression that all cruelty free products would be expensive but that really isn’t the case, there really are so many brands to choose from.

I have discovered that Aldi’s own brand range of cleaning supplies and Beauty products have been certified cruelty free so I have been trying a few out, and I have to say I am actually impressed! I’ve been using their all in one surface cleaner and it’s really really good! I’ve also been using the Lacura face wipes and they’ve been so good on my skin. I’m thinking of trying an Aldi skincare regime and blogging about the effects, so let me know in the comments if that is something you would like to read.

One thing I’m most concerned about is hair products. I love Aussie so I was really frustrated to realise that they test on animals and therefore not cruelty free. I’m keen to try the range from Bodyshop but I think £7 a bottle is a little much considering I have very long hair and I go through shampoo and conditioner really quick, so if you guys have any suggestions please let me know! My obvious next choice is the Aldi products for reasons mentioned abovw, but they don’t always have a whole lot of choice.

What are your fave cruelty free products? Please let me know in the comments!! Also please don’t think I’m pressuring or judging anyone if you don’t buy cruelty free, this is just a post about my own feelings and what you spend your money on is completely your decision, hence why I haven’t included paragraphs upon paragraphs of the insights to animal testing; this can all be researched online anyway.

Thanks for reading!

Michelle xxx

Instagram

Twitter

Joyland by Stephen King – Book Review

Hi everyone, here is my brief review of ‘Joyland’ by Stephen King. I haven’t written a book review since I was at college but I wanted to have a go, so please don’t expect anything amazing with this. Hope you enjoy!
I am pretty sure that we all know who Stephen King is. He seems to be the godfather of horror stories, known for his dark novels that inspired some riveting horror movies, such as It and Carrie. His 2013 novel, Joyland, is no exception to the rule. A mystery/crime novel set in a South Carolina amusement park in 1973, this story was bound to incorporate an element of terror and fear, and it does just that. However, considering the truly dark abhorrent nature of other novels by King, this is in my opinion more tame than some of his other works.
The synopsis reads as follows: “College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truth about life – and what comes after- that would change his world forever.” Instantly, we are reminded of the basis of every King novel – death and darkness. We are also introduced to our protagonist Devin, who is hung up on the demise of his first taste of love. As the story begins, I was instantly reminded of the start of a stereotypical rom com, whereby the protagonist would try something out of their usual comfort zone to escape the memories of their first love and end up finding love in a truer form. However, our guy Devin is extremely heartbroken about losing his beloved Wendy Keegan, and throughout the novel we are reminded of it again and again and again. Although I think this element of the story is important to the plot as it’s a contributory reason to why Devin is at Joyland in the first place, I don’t think it really adds anything to the overall narrative by keep repeating it. I feel as though it makes the character of Devin come across of rather mundane and dull. Notwithstanding this, the synopsis certainly intrigues the reader and encompasses an element of mystery, encouraging you to really want to read the story.
After a descriptive start, the storyline really gets going when the character Emmalina Shoplaw, who’s name Devin describes as it being “hard not to picture a rosy-cheeked landlady out of a Charles Dickens novel”, tells the ‘ghost story’ of why the Horror House ride at Joyland is considered to be haunted, after the vicious and gory unsolved murder of a young woman on the ride a few years previously. The character of Rozzie Gold, aka ‘Madame Fortuna’ offers a further element of mystery and spookiness when her seemingly nonsense prophecies begin to come true. I definitely think that this helps to keep the reader compelled and interested in the plot and encourages you to attempt to figure out the mystery. I can’t speak for everyone but I certainly felt that the revelation of who the murderer is was rather shocking, but it makes total sense. It certainly brings that sense of “of course, why didn’t I think of that.” I really think that this revelation makes the book resonate in your mind and gives you the euphoric feeling when you finish a good book. This is certainly a reason why I like this book – the wow factor. King really conveys how ingenious he can be by cleverly playing with the mind of the reader. Despite this, I do think that after this revelation the story ends rather abruptly. There isn’t really much of a structured ending, and I think at it was quite odd to not have the opinions about the killer’s identity from notable characters such as Mrs Shoplaw, Tom and Erin especially after they were so essential in building the discovery of the murder and subsequent haunting. Another thing I disliked about the book was the fact that although this book is set in the summer of 1973, it seems to jump around between prior to that summer and to years after and the present day. As such I personally found that it was difficult to keep up with the story line at times.
Overall, I did really enjoy this book and it has made me really want to read some more of King’s work, and although there were certain aspects that I didn’t particularly like, I would really recommend this to anyone who enjoys a spooky sort of mystery story.

My rating: 3 of of 5 stars

Thank you for reading!

Michelle xx

Please follow my social media!

Instagram

Twitter